Nature Photonics on the Plenary at CLEO/EUROPE-EQEC 2023

Rachel Won in The power of light-driven computing highlights the plenary talk in CLEO/EUROPE-EQEC 2023 about photonic computing machines in Nature Photonics.

CLEO Europe 2023
Cleo Europe 2023


QFT in curved spacetime permits quantitative predictions for the Unruh effect with hydrogenlike atoms

We consider ionized hydrogenlike atoms accelerated by an external electric field to detect Unruh radiation. By applying quantum field theory in the Rindler space-time, we show that the first-quantized description for hydrogenlike atoms cannot always be adopted. This is due to the frame-dependent definition of particles as positive and negative frequency field modes. We show how to suppress such a frame-dependent effect by constraining the atomic ionization and the electric field. We identify the physical regimes with nonvanishing atomic excitation probability due to the Unruh electromagnetic background. We recognize the observational limits for the Unruh effect via first-quantized atomic detectors, which appear to be compatible with current technology. Notably, the nonrelativistic energy spectrum of the atom cannot induce coupling with the thermal radiation, even when special relativistic and general relativistic corrections are considered. On the contrary, the coupling with the Unruh radiation arises because of relativistic hyperfine splitting and the Zeeman effect.

Exponential improvement in combinatorial optimization by hyperspins

Classical or quantum physical systems can simulate the Ising Hamiltonian for large-scale optimization and machine learning. However, devices such as quantum annealers and coherent Ising machines suffer an exponential drop in the probability of success in finite-size scaling. We show that by exploiting high dimensional embedding of the Ising Hamiltonian and subsequent dimensional annealing, the drop is counteracted by an exponential improvement in the performance. Our analysis relies on extensive statistics of the convergence dynamics by high-performance computing. We propose a realistic experimental implementation of the new annealing device by off-the-shelf coherent Ising machine technology. The hyperscaling heuristics can also be applied to other quantum or classical Ising machines by engineering nonlinear gain, loss, and non-local couplings.

Hyperscaling in the coherent hyperspin machine

Tsunami of light launched against 3D-printed tumor cells

Nature Communications 14, 4662 (2023)

Extreme waves are intense and unexpected wavepackets ubiquitous in complex systems. In optics, these rogue waves are promising as robust and noise-resistant beams for probing and manipulating the underlying material. Localizing large optical power is crucial especially in biomedical systems, where, however, extremely intense beams have not yet been observed. We here discover that tumor-cell spheroids manifest optical rogue waves when illuminated by randomly modulated laser beams. The intensity of light transmitted through bio-printed three-dimensional tumor models follows a signature Weibull statistical distribution, where extreme events correspond to spatially-localized optical modes propagating within the cell network. Experiments varying the input beam power and size indicate that the rogue waves have a nonlinear origin. We show that these nonlinear optical filaments form high-transmission channels with enhanced transmission. They deliver large optical power through the tumor spheroid, and can be exploited to achieve a local temperature increase controlled by the input wave shape. Our findings shed light on optical propagation in biological aggregates and demonstrate how nonlinear extreme event formation allows light concentration in deep tissues, paving the way to using rogue waves in biomedical applications, such as light-activated therapies.